Since the time the NTF-ELCAC was created, being the principal sponsor of their annual budget, I have been their most reliable ally in the Senate – until now.
That said, there’s no point discussing, much less arguing with people who refuse to listen to reason and adhere to the rule of law. The Senate as an institution has made our collective and legal position on the issue of the appointment of Parlade as an active military officer in a civilian position – which the Constitution clearly proscribes.
All I can say is: They made their choice, and it will cost them.
NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson Sec. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. should just read Article XVI, Sec 5, paragraph 4 of the 1987 Constitution when he decides on the fate of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson. He may not even need one week to review.
The said provision in the Constitution is clear: “No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”
As such, Sec. Esperon and Malacañang’s legal staff can simply ask themselves the question: is NTF-ELCAC a civilian office or a unit of the AFP?
Meanwhile, Art. XVI, Sec. 3 of the Constitution also decrees that the armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics. As such, “no member of the military shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any partisan political activity, except to vote.”
The issue goes beyond the attacks issued by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. on the organizers of community pantries as well as against the members of the Senate. A temporary ‘gag order’ is thus not the appropriate response.
In the first place, as an active member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Parlade “cannot be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government,” according to Art. XVI, Sec. 5, Paragraph 4 of no less than the 1987 Constitution.
That said, the AFP/DND should have heeded the call of the Senate to immediately recall him back to the AFP more than a month ago. He should be censured for dabbling in politics instead of just focusing on his inherent mission as commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command – that is, to fight threats such as terrorism and insurgency.
Meanwhile, as far as Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy is concerned, her political statements are her and the NTF-ELCAC’s responsibility to the Filipino people.
It is a no-brainer that my friend from way back, Salvador Panelo, being a member of the President’s Cabinet, will defend him, right or wrong. Hence, I’m willing to give him enough leeway.
That said, Art. VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution is clear and unequivocal on the participation of each and every Senator in voting for or against the ratification of a treaty or international agreement, which the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement is.
In fact, official records of the Senate will tell us that the vote on May 27, 1999 was 18-5, without which the same would not have been valid and effective.
More importantly: Whether or not an international agreement or a treaty has already been made valid and effective, it is still wrong to assert that a sitting senator and even an ordinary citizen of this country has no more freedom to express his opinion with something that concerns our national interest.
Dapat nakabukod o hiwalay ang botohan ng Senado at Kamara de Representantes sa pagtalakay ng pagbabago sa probisyon o bahagi ng ating Saligang Batas.
Ito ang nilalaman ng Senate Resolution 623 na inihain ni Senador Panfilo Lacson bilang tugon sa mga galaw na baguhin ang ilang probisyon ng 1987 Constitution.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Ayon sa senador, ginagawa na ito ng Mababang Kapulungan bagama’t nasa lebel pa lang ito ng committee.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed Senate Resolution 623 to unequivocally clarify that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“My resolution when adopted will clarify unequivocally that voting to revise or amend certain provisions of the 1987 Constitution will be done separately via 3/4 votes of the respective members of the Senate and House of Representatives, each voting in plenary,” Lacson said.
He noted the House of Representatives is doing it now although still at the committee level.
Without the certainty that both chambers of Congress will be voting separately, and there is none due to the vagueness of that particular provision in the 1987 Constitution – and only the Supreme Court can make such interpretation – it’s like taking one big step into a mousetrap, or even quicksand for that matter.
Having said that, I think all of us 24 senators should discuss this matter very carefully before we even consider plenary debates on the said resolution if indeed there is one filed.
To The Manila Times: Please allow us to set the record straight regarding your Dec. 4, 2020 editorial, which claimed, among other things, that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has made it his “advocacy” to criminalize red-tagging.
Ito ang tiniyak ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense, sa usapin ng posibleng pagtukoy sa red-tagging bilang isang asuntong kriminal.
Ang komite ni Lacson ang nanguna sa pagdinig ng Mataas na Kapulungan sa naturang usapin.
Isiniwalat din ng mambabatas na matapos ang pagdinig ng pinamumunuang komite sa nabanggit na usapin, puspusan na ang ginagawang pag-aaral ng kanyang tanggapan sa lahat ng argumento at position papers na isinumite ng dalawang panig sa naganap na tatlong pagdinig.
The 1987 Constitution will be the ultimate guide on whether there is basis to criminalize “red-tagging,” Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson said he and his legislative staff are poring over position papers and other materials gathered from all sides during the last three hearings on the issue.
“We will study and consider the matter, but the bottom line is that such a move will not violate our Constitution,” he said in an interview on DZAR radio.
“One major issue to be addressed if we are to criminalize red-tagging or red-baiting is if it will infringe on our Constitution’s provision ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This is a basic right that cannot be violated. That said, there are opposing views that such freedom is not absolute – that is why we have laws penalizing libel and cyber-libel,” he added.